As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt daily life in Australia, the added stress and uncertainty on the potential impacts on parenting arrangements for separated parents is ongoing during these unprecedented times.
The short answer is that if you have Court Orders they are still legally binding during the pandemic. However, parents may need to adopt a degree of flexibility in some circumstances.
For example, if a changeover is to occur at school but the school is closed, then the Court’s view is that the parents should work together to find a suitable alternate changeover location. This would therefore be a reasonable concession to make under the circumstances.
Communication between separated parents will be paramount whilst the pandemic continues. Particularly in circumstances where states/territories close their borders. It may be reasonable to increase alternate methods of communication between the child and the other parent during that time, via increased Face Time and telephone calls.
Alternatively, if parents are working from home whilst homeschooling their children, they may wish to discuss a temporary change to the care arrangements to share the homeschooling during such a period. If this occurs, a Parenting Plan may be appropriate to enter into for a limited period of time.
Parents need to remember and be conscious of their children’s best interests remaining the paramount concern during COVID-19. They should be sensible and make reasonable concessions. As always, the Family Relationships Centre and Relationships Australia can offer free mediations to assist separated parents in navigating these unchartered waters.
For more information or to discuss your situation,
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